The UK’s offshore wind industry is already the world’s biggest – and it is set for booming growth over the next five years, according to new research from the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC). The government and industry-backed group predicted the private sector will invest more than £60bn in developing, constructing, and operating offshore wind projects between now and 2026, leading to a near-tripling in the number of jobs across the industry, from 26,000 currently to 69,800 in just five years time. Most of the jobs will be created in more deprived parts of the country, including the north east of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Anglia, and Scotland, the research finds. Annual investment in the industry will average £10.1bn over the next five years, it adds, peaking at £10.6bn in 2026 alone.
Business Green 25th March 2021 read more »
The Scottish government is in line for a windfall of up to £860m from a forthcoming auction of Scottish seabed plots for windfarms, after lifting a cap on maximum bids following a runaway auction in England and Wales. Crown Estate Scotland had planned to cap the amount developers could offer for a seabed lease at £10,000 per square kilometre, but under new rules the bidding will be allowed to swell to a maximum £100,000 per sq km. Danish energy giant Ørsted will be among the firms vying for 8,600 sq km of Scottish seabed on offer, enough to develop windfarms which could power every Scottish household and save more than 6m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The decision to raise the bidding limit came after the crown estate’s auction generated up to £9bn over the next decade from energy companies, including BP, eager to build turbines off the coasts of England and Wales. The record-breaking bids were five times higher than expected for some plots. In the wake of the shock results, the Scottish property manager agreed with Scottish ministers to delay their own auction while they reviewed the rules. Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s energy minister, said the higher cap on the auction “balances the increasing value and demand for Scottish seabed with the need to secure a strong offshore wind supply chain which can power our green recovery from Covid-19 and help us meet our net zero target”. Crown Estate Scotland manages the Queen’s property, but unlike the crown estate – which manages property in the rest of the UK – it does not return its profits to the Treasury or the Queen. Instead, the revenues are handed to the Scottish Consolidated Fund, which in turn finances the Scottish government.
Guardian 24th March 2021 read more »